Filed: Wednesday, 9th April 2014
By: Paul Walker
It felt like old times at the Boleyn on Sunday, I left the ground feeling proud of my team even though we had played well and still lost to one of the big boys.
It reminded me of the old 'West Ham way' days; Big Sam called them 'pass and lose,' for those of us old enough to remember the Ron Greenwood/John Lyall era.
But these days I feel as if I should not be happy to praise my team, such is the vitriol they and the manager are facing because of our style of play. Itís almost treason to say they did well and wore the shirt with pride.
To say I was disappointed to read blogs elsewhere on the morning of the match that launched into more abuse of Sam and the team... Poor timing, surely.
Liverpool, a very fine team who may well end up winning the title, have been destroying sides of late from Manchester United to Cardiff to Southampton. Goals have rained in and they have rightly had plenty of praise.
So for us to restrict them to a couple of penalties , and for Luis Suarez to have had just two shots--plus the usual amount of moaning and histrionics- was a decent performance by West Ham. And we were never overrun like Manchester United were for one of the most embarrassing results of the season.
But I always feel players are due praise when it is due, and their performance against Liverpool was one of the best of a very disheartening season.
Again a referee, this time Anthony Taylor--remember him from the clueless Carlton Cole red card last season--was in the frame again. The first penalty was about right, our goal should have been disallowed and the winning penalty was a very poor decision.
There have been far too man bad refereeing performances this season. Apart from Howard Webb and the Chico Flores incident, we have seen wrong players being sent off and the shocking Manchester City offside goal last weekend. And itís not getting any better.
Gary Neville, now by far the best TV pundit, pointed out that Taylor could not see the action properly because Suarez was in his way, that Adrian touched the ball first and that Suarez was trying to con the official by pointing to the spot. Now thereís a surprise. The referee was actually guessing, which is a disgrace.
I donít go along with the íAdrian cleaned out Jon Flanaganí theme. No he didnít, the kid was already on his way down (I wonder where he learnt that one from) and our íkeeper did not raise his leg or arm to do the player damage. He just went down. If that is a foul then every sliding tackle that wins the ball first is also a foul.
Suarez had won that first penalty by chipping the ball into James Tomkins, a trick he has done plenty of times to buy a spot kick, and our man couldnít react quickly enough to get his hands out of the way. He was caught out, just as he was by Wayne Rooney. It is becoming a bit of a habit, young man.
OK, we lost, but it was a good performance and the players deserve credit for doing their jobs properly, which they didnít against Hull, hence the booing. They also deserve credit for hauling us away from the relegation zone. Only a string of miracle results will pull us back into the fray, and any more Sunderland performances like their hapless 5-1 defeat at Spurs will see us mathematically safe very soon.
Then of course we have to listen to a load of tripe from Steven Gerrard about the way his boys were so badly abused at the Boleyn. Diddums. And it also seems that he has also been stretching the truth somewhat, no doubt for a tame Merseyside audience.
Firstly he says their team coach had to park a mile from the ground. Nonsense. Pictures have been produced showing the Liverpool team getting off their coach in Green Street, with West Ham security in attendance, outside the nearby Catholic Church, 30 yards from their allotted parking space in the usual place for away teams inside out highly secure playersí car park.
The Green (Street) Mile: Gerrard being escorted into the ground by West Ham's Security Manager (image courtesy of @premierleague)
David Gold points out on Twitter that it was the decision of the Liverpool coach driver not to use that spot but to take the coach a mile away to safety. Something about not being able to back the coach in because of the traffic.
Gerrard seemed to be upset that his team had to walk 30 yards to the ground with fans all around them. Is he serious? I can just refer him to the recently sadly departed Tom Finney who used to catch a bus to Prestonís Deepdale ground with the fans before a match.
Then Gerrard moans about a hot dressing room. Nothing to do with the amount of hot air coming as usual from Suarez? I assume Liverpool players and staff have lost the ability to turn down a radiator.
And it made me think of the wet, dark, dank, freezing, smelly dressing rooms I had to use when playing Sunday morning football many moons ago. Iíd have been more than happy with a warm one.
Gerrard was implying that we were cheating. Really, Steven? Grow up. If you want a lecture on cheating, just look at your own pal Suarez. Convicted of racist abuse, biting players and a serial diver. And of course Gerrard and Liverpool always defend him. Now thereís a real cheat.
And then the England captain complained about the constant 70-yard long balls launched at his team, it was about the first thing he mentioned in his TV interview afterwards. Point is, the match statistics show that the use of the long ball was 56 times each. One of those was the 70-yard long ball to Suarez from Gerrard that set up the first penalty. Nothing wrong with that, then?
I could also draw Gerrardís attention to the outstanding style of a few past Liverpool teams, when Ian Rush was playing. Many is the time I have heard Liverpool commentators and ex-players pointing out that Rush would be the target of plenty of long balls out of defence, accurate ones, and he scored loads.
Nothing wrong with that, I assume. And there is nothing wrong with a succession of accurate balls up to Andy Carroll, which is what happened on Sunday.
Liverpool deserved to win, but this sort of nonsense from Gerrard does him no favours. He should be above such fabrication and stretching of the facts just to win some more brownie points with the Anfield masses.
Frankly, I am surprised at him. In my previous working life I had the pleasure of watching Gerrardís career from his debut to the day he lifted the European Cup in Istanbul. He is a truly great player, a good leader and captain of England, and I would love to see him win a title medal one day to shut-up the abuse he gets from Manchester United and Chelsea fans for never having won the championship.
I interviewed him many times, and he was always a courteous, polite, young man who was a credit to his city and club. But he should really be above such trivia. It is cheap, untruthful and beneath what is expected of a Liverpool and England captain.
* I also must mention the fact that the club have contacted KUMB to point out that they do intend to honour the 50th anniversary of the 1964 FA Cup Final victory over Preston, the actual date falling a day before we play Spurs in our last home game.
It is good that due respect is going to be paid to our past heroes, although the club still have to announce exactly what form the tribute will take.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
comments powered by Disqus